“We should not regard what a man is and what he deserves: but we should go higher – that it is God who has placed us in the world for such a purpose that we be united and joined together. He has impressed his image in us and has given us a common nature, which should incite us to providing one for the other. The man who wishes to exempt himself from providing for his neighbors should face himself and declare that he no longer wishes to be a man, for as long as we are human creatures we must contemplate as in a mirror our face in those who are poor, despised, exhausted, who groan under their burdens . .” – John Calvin
Race. Gender. Religious Affiliation. Social Economic Status. Political Affiliations. Educational Level. Country of Origin. These are some of the differences we allow to divide us into the “us” and “them” camps, and to which we give more weight than we do to our shared humanity, and the truth of Imago Dei. A choice that makes it easier to distance ourselves from the pain of others and develop justifications for the devastating experiences of others, justifications that allow us to maintain our distance, and “free” us from the need to act in ways that stretch us beyond places of comfort. What a difference the truth of John Calvin’s words can make, if I have the courage to accept it as truth, because truth accepted always transforms, “… for as long as we are human creatures we must contemplate as in a mirror our face in those who are poor, despised, exhausted, who groan under their burdens . .” I believe that when your face becomes my mirror, I can no longer be indifferent to you or your struggles.